Immigrants outworking those born in Canada

By James Langton | March 28, 2024 | Last updated on March 28, 2024
1 min read
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Not only has immigration powered Canada’s population growth but it’s increasingly bolstering the workforce, and leaning against the economic drag of an aging population, according to new research from RBC Economics.

In a new report, RBC noted that, as of early 2024, the labour force participation rate for immigrants outpaced the rate for those born in Canada by 2%.

“That’s especially true for immigrant workers aged 55 and above, who have increasingly chosen to keep working and retire later,” it said.

RBC estimates that the average retirement age for immigrant workers has been about 66 years old over the past decade, compared with about 64 years for Canadian-born workers.

“Longer career spans among immigrant workers also came with better economic outcomes,” it said. “The gap in wages between immigrant and Canadian-born workers has been narrowing since the mid-2010s and is at its lowest level in two decades.”

The phenomenon of greater workforce participation, longer working lives and higher income among immigrants is helping ease some of the economic pressures created by Canada’s aging population, the report said.

“We expect Canada’s labour force participation rate will drop by more than 2% over the next decade to 63.3% in 2035. That is the lowest level since [the] late 1970s,” it said.

“Against that backdrop, rising participation among immigrants — as they are set to take up an increasingly larger share of a shrinking labour force — will continue to help mitigate those challenges facing the economy,” the report noted.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.